Katja Röper

Investigating the role of acentrosomal microtubule arrays in epithelial tissue formation
Group Leader page

Epithelial tissues are one of the major tissue types in all animals and form the basic building blocks of many organs in both vertebrates and invertebrates. Simple epithelial sheets are also the basic starting point in the development of most animals. Understanding the basic cell biological mechanisms of epithelial tissue formation is crucial to an understanding of the causes of malformation and disease of epithelia, with 80% of cancers originating from epithelial tissues.

We have shown previously that during tissue formation, close interaction between different cytoskeletal systems, in particular the microtubule cytoskeleton and actomyosin, is crucial for the coordination of cell shape changes that drive the formation of tissues. In particular, acentrosomal arrays of microtubules that are stabilised and anchored at their minus ends apically by spectraplakin proteins (Shot, MACF1/ACF7) as well as proteins of the CAMSAP/Patronin family, can interact with and influence apical actomyosin.

The project will investigate how these acentrosomal microtubule arrays are initially formed, what triggers their formation, and how common a mechanism the microtubule-actomyosin interplay is.

We use the Drosophila embryos as our main model system, paired with the vast tools provided by fly genetics, advanced imaging methods including time-lapse confocal and super-resolution microscopy techniques, as well as molecular and biochemical approaches.


Girdler, G.C., Applewhite, D.A., Perry, W.M.G., Rogers, S.L., and Röper, K. (2016)
The Gas2 family protein Pigs is a microtubule +TIP that affects cytoskeleton organisation.
J. Cell Sci. 129: 121-134

Röper, K. (2015)
Integration of cell-cell adhesion and contractile actomyosin activity during morphogenesis.
Curr. Top. Dev. Biol. 112:103-27 (Review)

Booth, A.J.R., Blanchard, G.B., Adams, R.J. and Röper, K. (2014)
A dynamic microtubule cytoskeleton directs medial actomyosin function during tube formation.
Dev. Cell, 29(5), 562–576.

Girdler, G., and Röper, K. (2014)
Controlling cell shape changes during salivary gland tube formation in Drosophila.
Sem.Cell Dev.Biol., 1–8.

Nashchekin, D., Fernandes, A. R., & Johnston, D. S. (2016)
Patronin/Shot Cortical Foci Assemble the Noncentrosomal Microtubule Array that Specifies the Drosophila Anterior-Posterior Axis.
Dev. Cell, 38(1), 61–72.